After the sun turns red and the rivers become solid ice, the planet freezes and many of its people slowly starve. Survivors, seeking a source of heat, dig deep into the earth. Their catastrophe ultimately gives birth to a triumph of human ingenuity and spirit when the subterranean civilization develops labor-saving technology that frees citizens to focus on artistic endeavors.
Given the appropriate environment, people can do anything, according to this 1905 novel by a noted sociologist. Gabriel de Tarde wrote Underground Man to illustrate the concept that humans are creatures of their social environment. An intriguing mix of the post-apocalyptic and the utopian, the story combines satirical and ironic points of view with an optimistic perspective on the possibility of overcoming the failings of human nature to develop a thriving culture of intellectual and artistic achievement. H. G. Wells, a noted admirer of the novel, provides a wide-ranging Preface.